ALP politics is, at the moment, such a festival of slime and incompetence that anyone could write almost anything and it would probably be true.
But no-one would have thought Tony Sheldon, National Secretary of the TWU and ALP Vice-President, would have come out and lectured the Young Labor Right on ethics and sleazy insider culture.
His strongest attacks were targeted at “B-grade politicians able to thrive forever on corruption and detritus” inside the NSW branch, describing them as “like cockroaches”.
“The morality-free, managerialist, Machiavellian model of politics pioneered in NSW from the early 1990s onwards has gone too far,” he said. […]
“Changing the rules alone won’t get us there. There is no such thing as a party rule that is immune from manipulation. Reform of the ALP has to go further than mere rule changes. It also has to be about changing political behaviour.”
While Mr Sheldon backed Ms Gillard’s leadership, he took aim at policy decisions by the federal Labor government as a consequence of “fading Labor values”.
This is the Tony Sheldon of secret TWU slush-funds that continued for 2 years after Deloittes highlighted them, with monies likely delivered to Labor candidates; of multiple investigations; of physical conflict with competing unionists; and of rigging a Queensland Liquor Trades Union election in 1990.
This is the new voice of an ethical Labor addressing itself to “Labor values”? The capacity for members of the political class to cloak themselves in whatever is the fashion of the day and to churn out whatever words are necessary for appearances is, well, gobsmacking. Ordinary people with ordinary moral standards wouldn’t dare.
Though credit where credit is due. He did highlight “The morality-free, managerialist, Machiavellian model of politics pioneered in NSW from the early 1990s onwards”, and how it was a problem. Pity one the key architects of that is now Foreign Minister, parachuted directly into the Senate by our Labor PM.
The other has been on SkyNews, pretending he gives a damn about anything except himself.
The isolation and moral emptiness of the ALP political class is complete and irreversible. The equivalent problems in the Coalition political class have appeared, but thankfully, for now, their presence remains reversible. If Liberal parliamentary and organisational leaders are willing to act.
But if history is any guide, I fear this trend will only cease with fiscal collapse and the death and rebirth of our major political parties. There is absolutely no evidence of substantial change to address these problems within any party machine.
Indeed, talking internal reform is seen as one of two things: token words designed for external consumption (as perhaps, from John Faulkner or Rodney Cavalier for the ALP), or rocking the boat. It is certainly not seen as a noble commitment to the health of the organisation.